Ask any boy about what he wants to do when he grows up, and you’re bound to get the usual: Doctor, astronaut, superhero. But for nine year-old Danilo Giannoni, it was none of the above. Even at that early age, he found himself attracted to all things that sparkled, and so, intrigued by gems and jewels in window displays, decided that one day he would craft his own.
Today, Giannoni, 45, has more than fulfilled his childhood dream. Hailing from Alessandria, Italy, he is the founder and creative director of Italian jewellery brand Giamore. His stunning creations include a bespoke ring with a 3-carat Burmese ruby in a vivid pigeon-blood hue, along with ready-to-wear pendants, earrings and stackable rings.
Previously based in Hong Kong, Giannoni relocated to Singapore late last year. We recently caught up with him at his office at Trehaus, a co-working space at Claymore Connect.
Lifestyle Asia (LSA): What was it that sparked your interest in jewellery at such a young age?
Danilo Giannoni (DG): I don’t know exactly. It was an interest that began when I was very young, and I just knew it was something I wanted to do. It’s like when you hear a really good song or see a great art piece, and are drawn to it. I was always fascinated by the “bling” I saw in jewellery shops.
LSA: How did your family respond to your ambition to become a jewellery designer?
DG: I come from a military family. So when I told my father, who was a soldier, that I wanted to become a jewellery designer, he fell off his chair. And when I told people about my ambition, they’d laugh at me. But that didn’t change how I felt.
LSA: What steps did you take to pursue your dream?
DG: When I was in my teens, I studied at CFP Valenza, a jewellery school in Italy. It taught me the A to Z of the industry, from precious stones to design and manufacturing. We had classes in the morning and, in the afternoon, did mandatory work shifts at a factory for experience. I then worked for BP Gioielli, a famous Italian jewellery company who provided manufacturing and bespoke services brands such as Crivelli and Damiani. They gave me the chance to work with coloured gemstones, which I loved. I worked for them for six years before moving to New York.
LSA: What was it like taking your chances in New York?
DG: The place where I grew up is very small. Everyone gets married at 22, buys a Volkswagen at 24, and pays the mortgage on their house till they’re 70. It wasn’t for me. In New York, I opened a jewellery service company called LI, which stands for “Laboratario Italiano.” I offered services such as resizing pieces and setting stones for companies exporting jewellery from Italy to the US. These companies included Bulgari, Leo Pizzo, Luca Carati and Damiani.
LSA: What led you to start Giamore?
DG: Giamore is a concept that I developed in 2012 after spending over 25 years in the jewellery industry and meeting clients with different tastes and preferences. Giamore was started to cater to these clients’ needs through bespoke designs. We also offer resizing and stone cutting services to well-known brands. I was based in Hong Kong at that time, and had a day job working in a jewellery distribution business.
LSA: Since Giamore has no brick-and-mortar store, how do customers place bespoke orders?
DG: We have offices in Israel, Hong Kong, Italy and Singapore [at Trehaus], so our clients can make an appointment with us if they are in these countries. Sometimes we don’t meet the clients — they send us their body measurements, such as their shoulder width or neck length, so we can make a wax replica of that area and craft the jewellery around it. This way, we can ensure that the piece will fit perfectly.
LSA: What is the most unusual request you’ve received for your bespoke designs?
DG: One client wanted a snake bracelet that would coil up her arm. We made wax replicas of it many times, but every time she saw it, she wanted it bigger and bolder. It’s still in the works: The snake has green garnets and citrine sapphire for the body, and two rubies for the eyes, and a kite-shaped brown diamond for the head.
LSA: What brings you to Singapore, and what are your plans for Giamore here?
DG: My wife is Singaporean, in fact my first ready-to-wear collection Jaclyn is named after her. We decided that when we had kids, we would live here. It’s a family-friendly environment. I now have a daughter and a baby boy due in November. I’m thinking of opening a logistics office here next year, which will focus on diamonds and light-scale manufacturing. It will have a gallery to showcase our designs, and a service workshop upstairs.
Ready-to-wear items can be purchased from the label’s online store, www.giamore.com